The Black Gold Derby is back for the first time this season with more angst and storylines than ever before.
The Oklahoma City Energy FC will host their bitter rivals Tulsa Roughnecks at home on Saturday for another installment of one of the country’s best rivalries, the Black Gold Derby.
In the past, it has been the Energy who have taken the trophy home with them, but after a decent start this year in the league, the Tulsa Roughnecks may have their best chance at defeating their rivals.
Now laced with MLS veterans both on and off the field, the Tulsa Roughnecks currently field their best team since their creation. This improved team sees Tulsa sit ninth in the Western Conference with eighteen points. The Energy, who are coming off of a slow start in the league, currently sit eleventh in the league with eighteen points, losing the tiebreaker to Tulsa in both matches played and total wins.
Both teams are below the playoff line, meaning that this weekend match has a lot of juice behind it. If one team wins, they could see themselves pushed above the line. Although it is still early in the season to think about playoffs, being over the line is something worth cheering about.
Apart from the fierce bitter rivals toughing it out on the field, there is one side story that raises concern for FC Dallas fans. As many know, FC Dallas’ USL affiliate is the OKC Energy. However, a few weeks ago, Dallas loaned midfielder Jacori Hayes to Tulsa. This loan move raised concern for Energy fans who thought the affiliation meant not helping the enemy. Although this move was shocking, it adds an even greater story to this already heated rivalry.
Expect tough attitudes, tons of goals and ferocious tackles this weekend. The Energy have history on their side but Tulsa’s current form is nothing to trifle with. I’d expect Andy Craven to continue putting goals into the back of the net and for FC Dallas’ Hayes to play a solid full 90.
Projected Starting XI:
Energy FC: Laurendi; R. Dixon, Daly, Hyland, Wallace; Guzman, A. Dixon, Luis Martinez, Barril; M. Gonzalez, Craven
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Cedar; Kimura, Bourgeois, Jadama, Corrales; Hayes, Fernandez, Calistri, Caffa, Rivas; Svantesson
Location: Taft Stadium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Time & Date: 7:30 PM CT on July 8
Prediction: Energy win 2-1 (Craven 2x, Hayes 1x)